By Chris Lang, April 10 2013. Source: REDD-Monitor
The Paraguayan Chaco covers an area about the size of Poland. Thorn forests provide habitat to a wide range of species, including jaguar, ocelot, puma, tapir and giant armadillo. It is home to indigenous peoples, such as the Ayoreo, some of whom are uncontacted, the last uncontacted indigenous tribe south of the Amazon.
It is also being rapidly deforested as cattle ranchers from Brazil move in and clear the forest. Also involved in clearing the land are Mennonites, descendants of people who fled religious persecution in Russia and eastern-Europe in the 1930s. Between 2006 and 2010, one tenth of the Paraguayan Chaco was converted to ranches. Last year, the New York Times reported that satellite analyses by environmental group Guyra revealed that 1.2 million hectares of the Gran Chaco (which extends into Bolivia, Argentina and Brazil) had been cleared in the previous two years.
This short film by Survival International documents the impact of the deforestation on the Ayoreo indigenous people in Paraguay: